Harriet S.MeyerMD, Contributing EditorDavid H.MorseMS, Journal Review EditorRobertHoganMD, adviser for new media
General textbooks of surgery over the past 30 years have progressively improved to the point that they are difficult to distinguish in quality. The professional reputations of the editors and authors, the scope and merit of the discussions, the quality of the illustrations, and the extent of the bibliography almost always meet lofty academic standards or such a book would not be published.
This reviewer favors looking at criteria that establish a text as a valuable resource for surgical residents and senior medical students preparing for weekly presentations to the chair and faculty at general surgery conference, or studying for their American Board of Surgery in-training and qualifying examinations. The version edited by Townsend et al, of Sabiston Textbook of Surgery is very much such a resource. It is a superbly written clinical authority, replete with supportive basic science data and strong background in surgical history. It is an up-to-date textbook and invaluable reference for the practicing surgeon, as well. Early in my review of this edition, I clearly recognized the book's similarity to Frederick Christopher's Textbook of Surgery—"Christopher Major"—its early forerunner, which was popular with my generation of surgeons 45 years ago and which often served as our only review source in preparing for the boards. Sabiston is profusely illustrated with photographs and drawings of such clarity and relevance that the reader readily turns to them to gain a better appreciation for the discussions.
SurgerySabiston Textbook of Surgery: The Biological Basis of Modern Surgical Practice. JAMA. 2001;285(20):2649-2650. doi:10.1001/jama.285.20.2649-JBK0523-2-1